Where In The World Is This?

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Answer: Heart of Midlothian, Edinburgh

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The Heart of Midlothian is a heart-shaped collage assembled into the cobbled pavement next to St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. With brass markers set into the pavement, it marks the location where the 15th-century building, the Old Tolbooth used to stand.

The Old Tolbooth, demolished in 1817, used to be the centre of administration of the town, prison and also a site for public execution.. There was a scaffold for public hangings and the heads of the more notorious criminals would be displayed on spikes in the front facade of the building.

Visitors will notice that it is not uncommon to occasionally see passers-by spitting on the Heart. There are many theories for this ’charming’ tradition, some say it is for good luck, others claim that according to old Scottish law, it was forbidden to spit anywhere but on the Heart of Midlothian. Most people agree that this was originally simply a display of contempt for the former prison. One popular legend also says that by spitting on the heart, one is destined to one day return back to Edinburgh.

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